LAS VEGAS – Josh Taylor obviously doesn’t love the reality that the same three judges who scored Jose Ramirez’s majority-decision victory over Viktor Postol will work their fight Saturday night.
The unbeaten IBF/WBA 140-pound champion is nevertheless confident that the scorecards of Tim Cheatham, Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld won’t matter. Taylor expects to knock out the undefeated Ramirez in their 12-round title unification fight.
Ramirez has proven to be durable during his career, but the Scottish southpaw sees vulnerability in the WBC/WBO champion that makes him think he’ll stop Ramirez inside the distance.
“I don’t know [which round], but I really am confident in getting the KO on Saturday,” Taylor stated during a press conference Thursday. “That’s for sure.”
Most handicappers have made Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) slightly more than a 2-1 favorite to beat Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) in a main event ESPN will broadcast from The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Barring a draw, the winner will become just the sixth fully unified male champion in any division during boxing’s four-belt era.
As sure as Taylor is that he’ll knock out Ramirez, the 30-year-old champion will approach Ramirez respectfully.
“Listen, I’m not gonna go out there looking [for a knockout] and disregard all what I’ve been working on,” Taylor told BoxingScene.com after the press conference. “I’m not gonna go and just be stupid and go to war. I’m not gonna be looking just for a big bomb to knock him out. But I really do believe I can knock him out on Saturday. I really do believe it.”
Taylor also believes beating Ramirez by knockout would move him up several spots on pound-for-pound lists.
“I think it would be a huge statement,” Taylor said. “I think it would be a massive statement if I knock him out. But either way, I think this is gonna be a career-best performance for me. I’ve trained so well in the gym, performed so well, so I just feel good all-around.”
The 28-year-old Ramirez didn’t pay much mind to Taylor’s knockout prediction.
“He’s doing what he’s done throughout his career, but he’s facing a whole different guy, you know?,” Ramirez told BoxingScene.com. “Nothing he says right now really matters. At the end of the day, when the first bell rings, I’ll let my fists do the talking for me.”
Ramirez-Taylor will headline a tripleheader scheduled to start at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
Top-rated junior welterweight contender Jose Zepeda (33-2, 26 KOs, 2 NC), of La Puente, California, is set to face Philadelphia’s Hank Lundy (31-8-1, 14 KOs) in the 10-round co-feature. In the eight-round opener of the telecast, Dominican junior welterweight prospect Elvis Rodriguez (11-0-1, 10 KOs) will box Chicago’s Kenneth Sims Jr. (15-2-1, 5 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.